To be comforted and to comfort others when there is grief, bereavement, or trouble is not a luxury but a significant need which we all possess. Without comfort there is an abundance of people getting stuck in some stage of denial, anger, bargaining, and/or depression. The Apostle Paul started off his epistle to the Corinthians mentioning the word “comfort” 10 times in 5 verses. It is a beautiful word, full of wonderful meaning.
It is likely that all of us have had both good and bad experiences with others in our own personal season of grief. Whatever has been said to us of assistance, we can emulate. And whatever has been said which was unhelpful, we can determine to avoid in assisting others. Here is the “what” and the “why” of biblical comfort: We are to come alongside and walk with another through grief, offering helpful words and actions, until the person can accept the new situation and move on.
Now here is the “how:” The way people get unstuck from grief and move on is through telling their story. The power of listening well to others’ stories is grossly underrated and is vitally needed today. Spending time with another, asking loving questions, and offering ears to listen, mimics what God does for us in our grief. He always has a listening ear. He knows grief better than all of us, because he saw the agonizing death of his one and only Son. But through Jesus hope is reawakened. Because of Jesus, there is a future resurrection awaiting us and our loved ones. Our grief will be turned to joy, and our comfort will overflow. Thank you, Jesus.
Saving God, you have acted with the ultimate love by sending your Son, the Lord Jesus to this earth. He is familiar with suffering, and knows grief inside and out. Thank you for the comfort that you offer through the redemptive events of Jesus. Let your Holy Spirit shape me into one who is both comforted, and is able to comfort others. Amen.